In the first decade of this century, the Barna Group conducted groundbreaking research among young Americans. It wanted to know why many young people were no longer professing Christianity. In 2007, the results were published in the book “UN christian” by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons. The book’s subtitle is, “What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity… And Why it Matters.”
It seems as though the generation made up of 16- to 29-year-olds doesn’t think much of Christianity. Of those outside Christianity, only 16 percent have a good impression of the Christian faith. When it comes to what is labeled “evangelical Christianity,” the favorable rate drops to 3 percent.
The problem appears to be how Christians are perceived. The study reveals six major perceptions that outsiders have regarding Christians. These all cause me, a Christian, to shiver!
Outsiders have these perceptions:
• Christians say one thing but live something entirely different.
• Christians are insincere and only interested in converting others.
• Christians show contempt for gays and lesbians.
• Christians are boring, unintelligent, old-fashioned and out of touch with reality.
• Christians are primarily motivated by a political agenda and promote right-wing politics.
• Christians are prideful and quick to find faults in others.
This is NOT how God planned for His people to live! Paul writes about Christians in Romans 8. In verses 29 and 30, the Easy to Read Version says that God “decided that they would be like his Son … God planned for them to be like his Son.”
Oops, somewhere along the line we must have messed up! As a Christian of 54 years and a full-time minister for 45, I apologize for the times I have left any of those perceptions! I truly want to be like Jesus, and I think most of my fellow-Christians do too.
Would you join the churches of Carson in an effort to be like Jesus? Our doors are open.
Bruce Henderson is the minister of Airport Road Church of Christ.